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Tech & Sourcing @ Morgan Lewis

TECHNOLOGY, OUTSOURCING, AND COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS
NEWS FOR LAWYERS AND SOURCING PROFESSIONALS

Following the US Department of Justice’s recent recommendations to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to provide incentives for online platforms to address illicit material on their platforms, two US senators have proposed the Platform Accountability and Consumer Transparency Act (PACT), legislation aimed at reforming Section 230 of the CDA.

Titled “Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material,” Section 230 of the CDA protects online platforms or intermediaries that host or republish user content from liability for such content (with some exceptions). Specifically at issue in this legislation is Section 230(c)(1), “Protection for ‘Good Samaritan’ blocking and screening of offensive material,” which says, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Although Section 230 has long been viewed as opening the door for free expression by protecting smaller companies from the legal minefield of potential liability for hosting content while still allowing them to remove objectionable content, the implementation of the law and the broad reliance on it by technology companies have lately been called into question.

PACT aims to make online platforms more accountable and transparent in connection with their content moderation policies and would, among other things, require online platforms to provide consumers information about their content moderation practices and protections, and hold the platforms accountable for violating their own policies.